The Burnmoor bandwagon is beginning to roll.
After a fairly subdued start to life in their new surroundings, the challenge of the triple Durham League champions is gathering pace and Saturday’s eight-wicket hammering of Willington moved Moor up to second place, just 15 points behind Brandon.
Willington skipper James Stock held the visitors together with an unbeaten 62 after Karl Bellerby (3-22 from 10 overs) and Kevin Dixon (4-46 from 11 overs) began to make inroads into the opposition batting order. Without Stock’s innings, which included just five boundaries, the final 55-over total of 195-8 would almost certainly have looked much poorer.
Burnmoor haven’t always found run scoring easy this year, but Sri Lankan Irosh Samarasooriya eased to a maiden century for the club, stroking 10 fours on his way to 101.
With Paul Craig adding 50 from the opener’s slot, the hosts were always in command of a run chase which ended successfully in the 46th over.
Eppleton are another side imposing themselves on the title race. After starting the campaign with four successive draws, they made it three wins in a row as they won at Sacriston with eight wickets and just short of half a game to spare.
Zaheer Shahbaz (4-39 from 11 overs) and David Wilkinson (5-31 from 9.2 overs) put the skids under the home team, who lost their last seven wickets for just 41 runs as they slid from 84-3 to 125 all out.
No such problems for Eppleton – they raced to 92 for the first wicket before Graham Hoban went for just 20, and then the effervescent Kyle Davis ramped up the rate even more as he blasted 13 fours in a 62-ball 69 before being stumped going for another big shot. The win came inside 24 overs.
Boldon were the team bringing Brandon into line.
An outstanding century from Neil Mulvaney, who hit 10 fours and four sixes on his way to a 127-ball 101, was mainly responsible for Boldon making a decent total of 230-7 in 52 overs.
But, in a strange run chase, the fine start provided by Ryan Nicholson (51) and Chris Peareth (54) seemed somewhat wasted as Sairaj Raghavan took 85 balls to score 39 not out. Brandon closed on 210-7 after 53 overs.
It was also a draw at Ashbrooke, where visitors Felling were given the very best of starts by Stuart Walker and Dan Clark, who put on 214 runs for the first wicket.
Clark made 77 from 132 balls, but it was Walker who was the real driving force as he cracked 19 fours and a six on his way to 135 in 122 balls.
Felling duly declared after 50 overs with 243-7 on the board, but Sunderland seemed content to avoid defeat as they batted out their 55 overs to end on 175-4.
Bravesh Shetty was still there at the end, with 71 scored from 131 balls. The Wearsiders only picked up eight points for their efforts, a return which kept them anchored to the foot of the table.
South Hetton lost to Tudhoe by three runs last Monday. On Saturday, they lost by 103 runs with only former skipper Rob Atherton (5-50) enjoying much success.
Tudhoe made 246-9, Nikhil Date making 91 as they turned it around after being 74-6. Alfred Mothoa bagged 3-61.
South Hetton were all out for 143, Tariq Aziz top-scoring with 37 as Patrick Stephenson bagged 5-34.
Seaham Harbour went down by five wickets at home to Washington, despite setting a challenging target of 213-9 after half centuries from Ian Pattison (61) and Martin Stephenson (50). Craig Stephenson added 47, with Ashley Thorpe bagging 4-48.
Trent Mais (73) and Daniel Anderson (65) led the way as Washington won on 214-5, Jack Lacey taking 3-67 and Stephenson 2-52.